UK thrash has always been considered second-rate when compared to the output of Germany, Brazil and the USA. But, as these 5 outstanding UK thrash albums prove, rewind the clock back 35 years ago and us Brits were churning out high-quality thrash releases too!!
Anihilated – The Ultimate Desecration (1989)
Anihilated‘s second album is a British thrash milestone, incorporating Exodus‘ brash brutality and Slayer‘s knack for intimidating menace and groove to form an album worthy of serious attention.
The grisly grooves of instrumental “Desolation” set the scene as Anihilated‘s malevolent, sickle-sharp riffing crunches straight into high gear on “Into The Flames Of Armageddon”. The album never lets up from here on in; quality track follows quality track with raspy, sandpaper vocals, wall-of-sound drums and Hell Awaits era Slayer riffs combining furiously to thrash your face clean off.
The Slayer comparisons can be a little too familiar at times but if you’re gonna be inspired, be inspired by one of the best and if being the British Slayer is a bad thing, then we’ll be damned!
Of all the bands to arise during thrash’s recent re-birth, Anihilated truly showcased the breadth of talent the UK have to offer, culminating in Anti Social Engineering, one of the finest UK thrash albums ever recorded….and we ain’t fuckin’ kidding….this album absolutely slayed the competition in 2015!
Bomb Disneyland – Why Not! (1989)
Also known as ‘Bomb Everything’ after Disneyland took offence (what, didn’t Mickey appreciate the English sense of humour, or something?!), these guys were an anomaly in that their music practically defied categorisation!
However, with enough thrash thrown into the mix to balance out the crossover / hardcore punk madness, Bomb Disneyland‘s place on this list is well earned.
Aggressive crossover thrash may have been Bomb Disneyland‘s meat and potatoes but a big ol’ side order of tomfoolery was the satisfying accompaniment and, when thrown together, it all tasted damn good!
15 tracks. 31mins. A rollicking good time.
Faster bastards, FASTER!
D.A.M – Human Wreckage (1989)
A relatively archetypical thrash album from the late 80’s, D.A.M‘s debut album, Human Wreckage, may have been lacking that killer edge to propel it into the big leagues but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t home to some bitchin’, occasionally hardcore-inflected, thrash!
Taking a darker, edgier approach meant that D.A.M‘s excursions into semi-ballad territory – particularly on the atmospheric “Infernal Torment” – paid dividends for a band who were just as capable at high-speed riff-fests (check out the S.O.D-esque album closer, “F.O.D”).
An album that belies its also-ran status, Human Wreckage managed to blend crossover thrash with a progressive mindset and while the results can occasionally be jarring, they’re never anything less than entertaining!
Hydra Vein – After The Dream (1989)
This swift follow-up to Hydra Vein‘s debut album, Rather Death Than False Of Faith (1988), may have been a little rushed – with only 6 songs making up its brief 30 min runtime – but that doesn’t detract from the quality on display throughout this often overlooked gem.
By upping both the aggression and the technicality some of the naive feral charm of Hydra Vein’s debut may have been lost but that’s not to say that After The Dream was without it’s own Slayer-esque appeal. Warbled intro shriek on opening track “7-U-S-C” aside, the tracks found here are uniformly engaging and thrashed up to fuck, resulting in a sophomore album that should have pushed Hydra Vein to the very top of the UK thrash pile.
Not quite in the same league as Rather Death Than False of Faith but undoubtedly one of the better UK thrash metal albums released at the tail end of the 1980’s!
Pariah – Blaze of Obscurity (1989)
A classic sounding thrash band before the term could even be applied, there was something inviting about Pariah’s thrashed up New Wave Of British Heavy Metal based output; of which Blaze Of Obscuritywas their finest hour.
Formed from the ashes of NWOBHM heroes Satan, Pariah would go on to donate Graeme English and Steve Ramsey to Skyclad but first came this magnificent slice of melodic thrash magnificence. The perfect companion piece to Onslaught’s equally ambitious In Search Of Sanity, Pariah’s astonishing array of complex riffs and expansive song writing should have found them beloved the world over.
As it transpired, Pariah were treated in a manner befitting their name and split after just two short years.
However, Blaze Of Obscurity is so ridiculously accomplished that it deserves nothing less than total reappraisal and should be considered a benchmark for 80’s speed metal and thrash metal guitar work.
Related content: 5 Cult UK Thrash Albums Turning 35 Years Old In 2024